SUS for multiple Mac OS X client versions


Mac OS X clients running versions 10.4, 10.5,10.6 or OS X Lion can all use the same URL to connect to a Software Update Server running Mac OS X Server v10.6.7 or later. Before following the steps in this article, you must do the following:

  • Update your Software Update Server to Mac OS X Server v10.6.7 or later.
  • Stop and start the Software Update service using Server Admin.
  • See additional instructions for hosting Lion updates in Hosting Lion Updates on Snow Leopard Server

Managed Client X

To manage access to Software Update servers:

  1. In Workgroup Manager, click Preferences.
  2. Make sure the correct directory is selected and you are authenticated. To switch directories, click the globe icon. If you are not authenticated, click the lock and enter the name and password of a directory administrator.
  3. Select a computer group.
  4. Click Software Update.
  5. Set the management setting to Always.
  6. Specify a URL such as this (substituting your Software Update Server's fully qualified host name
  7. Click Apply Now.

Unmanaged Clients

To point unmanaged clients (clients not being managed with MCX) to a Software Update server:

  1. On the unmanaged client, open Terminal.
  2. Enter the following command (substituting your Software Update Server's fully qualified host name
    defaults write /Library/Preferences/ CatalogURL

You can verify your change using the following command:

    defaults read /Library/Preferences/ CatalogURL

To point the unmanaged client computer back to the Apple Software Update server, use the following command:

    defaults delete /Library/Preferences/ CatalogURL


Resetting SL SUS to defaults and configuring for Snow Leopard and Lion.
An issue has been raised when attempting to restore SUS and specify OSes.

RewriteRule ^/index\.sucatalog$ /index-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog

The swupd.plist and .conf files reflect new settings but server does not
hold setting even after restart. SA overwrites with default setting.

Worked out by Peter Waldo of Mac Enterprise Solutions.

Got it working today!

1st attempt:

Stopped SUS
Deleted SUS Service
Restored SUS Service
Modified files
Started SUS
No go.

2nd attempt
Stopped SUS
Deleted SUS Service
Deleted plist and conf files
Restored SUS Service
Started SUS
(Conf and plist now restored to original settings)
Stopped service
Modified conf & plist files
Started SUS
No go.

3rd attempt
Stopped SUS
Modified files
(okay at this point I applied a couple of outstanding server updates: security update, safari, etc.)
Restarted server
Checked files (still okay)
Started Server Admin
Started SUS
Checked files (for the first time, okay!) Whew!

Not sure if it was restarting the server or applying an update that did the trick (cleared some caches?), but it’s working.

Thanks for you help.